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Eagle Scouts: Merit Beyond the Badge

One hundred years after Arthur Eldred of New York earned this nation's first Eagle Scout Award, new, independent research demonstrates the significant, positive impact Eagle Scouts have on society every day. Since it was first awarded in 1912, more than 2 million young men have achieved the Boy Scouts of America's highest rank. An independent study, Merit Beyond the Badges, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and conducted by Baylor University examined the effects that being a Scout as a youth has on men's later life.

The first report from this study, released by Baylor University during the 2012 National Annual Meeting, focuses on the difference earning the Eagle Scout Award makes in the lives of men. This report provides us with empirical evidence that, compared to men who were never Scouts, Eagle Scouts demonstrate:

  • Greater lifelong connections to family, friends, and neighbors
  • A higher sense of responsibility to give back through leadership, service, volunteering, and donating
  • Greater connections to and concern for their community
  • More self-discipline to plan ahead and set and achieve goals
  • Higher self-expectations
  • A greater appreciation of and concern for the environment
  • Increased respect for religion and religious diversity

This study is available in PDF format at www.scouting.org/About/Research/EagleScouts.aspx.

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